Doctor Yoel Pomerantz is a washed-up, self-loathing psychologist who lives on the 12th floor of a high-rise with his Aspberger's son, Yoav, who spends his days pretending to be a traffic ...
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Doctor Yoel Pomerantz is a washed-up, self-loathing psychologist who lives on the 12th floor of a high-rise with his Aspberger's son, Yoav, who spends his days pretending to be a traffic cop and proudly giving out parking tickets.
Dr. Pomerantz sees a few patients a week, barely enough to keep he and Yoav in ramen noodles and with a roof over their heads. In addition, he works shifts at a suicide hotline. When he gets desperate financially, he recruits hotline callers to see him privately, which is discovered and results in his getting unceremoniously fired.
(Meanwhile Yoav is getting a blow job from a would-be parking offender, Bracha Nachmias.)
Except that the former hotline callers keep coming, and begin offering Pomerantz cash to jump from his balcony to their deaths. One such jumper is followed by her niece, who comes looking for her aunt moments after Pomerantz decides himself to jump, as he realizes he has hit bottom with his new "business".
Brilliant black comedy expresses everything that is out of kilter in Israel today
VIewed at the 2013 Los Angeles Israeli film festival. Multi-talented actor/director/writer and wildman of the Israeli film world, Assi Dayan, has a lot on his mind these days. Assif ("Assi") Dayan, now 67, is the son of the famous one eyed Israeli field general Moshe Dayan whose eye patch made him instantly recognizable around the world. This son of a celebrated father soon became a celebrity in his own right as a popular movie actor and then moved on to film direction. "Dr. Pomerantz", his latest film, is nearly a one- man show. Dayan wrote the script, directed, and acted himself in the quirky titular role of an impoverished psychiatrist who encourages clients to commit suicide by jumping off the balcony of his high-rise apartment –for a steep price. Twelve stories up, he charges them 100 shekels per floor (1200 shekels) and another 800 for a final consultation before ending it all --total 2000 shekels. Quite a fancy price that looks like it will soon allow him to normalize his lifestyle -- until mounting guilt impels him to take the plunge himself. This absurd framework, with lots of black humor along the way, basically serves Dayan as a vehicle to express his ideas on everything he sees as out of kilter in Israeli society today via the complaints of his patients and his own philosophical views. Among the complaints are loneliness and isolation coupled with Holocaust hangover, anxiety over whether Israel can continue to exist, doubts about relations with Arabs, internal relations with North African Jews, marital infidelity and children who can't take life in the Promised Land and run off to India. One jumper, a gung-ho former colonel in some kind of death squad, takes the leap into the void in full military regalia while shouting Viva Israel! When the police clean up squad headed by a cynical Moroccan Jew start becoming suspicious, Pomerantz has a bold women suicidenik (Mrs. Zimmer) use the back window. Later, after the doctor's own leap her daughter will show up and be saved from joining mother below by the Doctor's wimpy son who is a universally despised dispenser of parking tickets, providing a slightly upbeat ending to a basically depressive tale. At one point I asked myself "why am I watching this?"-- but got caught up in the overtones of the twisted battiness and had to see it through to the end. Some would call this a "black comedy", and there were indeed many chuckles heard throughout, primarily coming from Israelis in the audience familiar with the Hebrew slang with which the picture is peppered, however I saw it more as a pathetic tragedy presented in superficially comic terms –but still a tragedy—a kind of collective gallows humor in a country constantly faced with terrorism and the threat of annihilation. Aside from his film career Dayan is a famous public figure known for his wide literary erudition, acerbic wit, long immersion in psychotherapy (like Woody Allen!) and personal bouts with suicidal tendencies Ps: Dayan committed suicide in 2014 depriving the country of an unusually powerful introspective voice.
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